Skip to comments.The Late, Great American WASP
Posted on 12/21/2013 7:26:16 PM PST by EveningStar
The old U.S. ruling class had plenty of problems. But are we really better off with a country run by the self-involved, over-schooled products of modern meritocracy?
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Well, there’s Detroit and Kwame Kilpatrick
That describes the old WASP class perfectly.
The meritocracy isn’t really a meritocracy. Its status rank-ordering is based on factors like the ZIP code you grew up in and the name of the college you attended. In other words, attributes tangential to actual talent, skill, and accomplishment.
Barack Obama is a good example of who succeeds in the “meritocracy”.
A WASP is someone who kisses his dog on the mouth and his children on their foreheads.
Very interesting, thanks for posting it. I always enjoy reading Joseph Epstein, he is a really nice writer.
I think here he is misdiagnosing things a little.
File under: the 60s ruined everything. Along with the WASPs the iconoclasts of the 60s through out honor, self-sacrifice, etc. This was done at the direction of the organized, stalinist Left, and they have gained and continue to maintain a strong grip on the levers of power in this country.
Plenty of true WASPs were complicit in this revolution. And wanna-be WASPs, of whom I offer John “reporting for duty” Kerry as a perfect example.
How can we restore these values to our nation, I’m not sure.
I do remember my mother telling me years ago that FDR was “a traitor to his class”. My mother certainly wasn’t a member of that class, she was a first generation American. But she was a dyed in the wool Republican and I thank heaven she did not live to see our current president, because her head would have been exploding daily!
Miss you mom!
While I am not in agreement with Mr. Epstein on how the old monied WASPS worshipped at the altar of the Beau Idea I do find myself in agreement with him about the “meritocracy system” of today. The fact that achieving high grades in “elite” institutions does not prove you are a great leader. Merely that you are good in school. Our current society is stifling different viewpoints and causing the ones that get ahead to all conform to the same tome. Witness the uproar concerning Duck Dynasty for the latest example.
I do not pretend to know where this is all leading. I will however posit this. We live in a society where we elect our leaders. Instead of looking to the foibles of our leaders, we should do more self examining. Perhaps it is we who have lost the Beau Idea. Perhaps it is we who are not doing our duty.
The poison dart that killed the WASPs was the tax exempt status given to the churches. That destroyed the morel compass.
Agreed that it’s not Epstein’s best writing, and much of the good parts are wistfully nostalgic.
My personal family’s WASP heritage ended with my father’s suicide at age 37 in 1974. It’s tough to look back a few generations and not think that something went wrong.
Culturally and academically I blame the acceptance of Marx in the Western Canon for the WASP downfall, personified by the traitorous impulses of Alger Hiss and his cadre.
My favorite movie regarding the subject is Metropolitan.
Yes, they did.
The elder generation of Orientals, all came here for Freedom and to make money, and in their circle, still taught the family honor system, causing many to be well-educated, and skilled in many professions.
The elder Cubans, still in exuberance of having obtained their Freedom, made sure that their offspring KNEW what Freedom is, HOW they got it, and WHAT was to be expected of them.
The White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestants made darn sure that their kids KNEW, exactly all the same things that the other two groups did, and they had to do it BETTER THAN THE OTHER GUY, PERIOD!
Now, to bring balance to the Force, for all intent and purposes, I give the following:
1. My adopted second home town of Stamford, CT, 1968, half-razed in the Negro riots, never mind their particular defining reasons.
2. Look at Chicago and Detroit, who has Negro politicians in influential positions, for years, and for what?
3. New Orleans, LA., between the Morials and Nagin, it was disgusting, “Chocolate City” or not. The Bronx, in its inherent ugliness, looked prettier!
4. NYC, with good ol’ Mayor Dinkins, was a joke.
I will leave Los Angeles alone, for they had a guy with class, and really worked from the street beat cop, up the ladder, Mayor Bradley.
White Anglo-Saxon Protestants weren’t, and aren’t, as monolithic a group as they’re often depicted. Generally, when mentioned, the term WASP is not including poor ones, plenty of which exist, nor when using the term to talk about the ruling class that once was are all of those people Anglo-Saxon origin, or even Protestant, even if most might be.
It wasn’t children who destroyed us during the 1960s, it was the people running the country and media and institutions.
Democrats wrote a law to replace the American voter.
From unionizing government, to Vietnam, to the 1965 Immigration Act, JFK was the end of us.
However, if there is one man who can take the most credit for the 1965 act, it is John F. Kennedy. Kennedy seems to have inherited the resentment his father Joseph felt as an outsider in Bostons WASP aristocracy. He voted against the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952, and supported various refugee acts throughout the 1950s. In 1958 he wrote a book, A Nation of Immigrants, which attacked the quota system as illogical and without purpose, and the book served as Kennedys blueprint for immigration reform after he became president in 1960. In the summer of 1963, Kennedy sent Congress a proposal calling for the elimination of the national origins quota system. He wanted immigrants admitted on the basis of family reunification and needed skills, without regard to national origin. After his assassination in November, his brother Robert took up the cause of immigration reform, calling it JFKs legacy. In the forward to a revised edition of A Nation of Immigrants, issued in 1964 to gain support for the new law, he wrote, I know of no cause which President Kennedy championed more warmly than the improvement of our immigration policies. Sold as a memorial to JFK, there was very little opposition to what became known as the Immigration Act of 1965.
They aren't products of a meritocracy.
Promotion, advancement or reward through merit is anathema to them.
They are the products of the liberal Ineptocracy.
They are the False Self Esteem Generation.
That is really dreadful about your father, you must have been very young, I’m sorry for your loss.
Of course, Alger Hiss is a great example.
I did think Epstein made a good point about being good in school (other than math and the sciences, which include a lot of math) is, to a certain extent, just about being good in school. It’s also sad that our country is run by so many lawyers, because very often these are the people who were not good with math.
But I thought he passed over the question of how good the Ivys are anymore, but I guess that is a long subject.
Right now it just seems like we have a bunch of incompetent boobs running the country and I don’t care what school they went to.
I’ve known a lot of smart and well educated people who can barely function in “real life”.
Well, maybe the “millennials” have gotten a needed wake up call, after all, the world is going to be their problem eventually.
In his book “America Lite - How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats)”, David Gelernter gives a well-detailed recounting of the collapse of WASP power and influence under the assault of academic meritocracy in the universities - up until the post WWII era higher education was primarily a finishing school situation for those who already had plenty of money and social connections - starting in the ‘50’s with the perceived need for more scientists and technical personnel in the country, admittance to college became much more dependent on academic skills than on social influence. Most remarkable, the WASP establishment seemed to crumble and surrender its long-held power with hardly a struggle under the pressure of the new radical ideas brought to the campuses by the new class of students, as best illustrated by the way so many campuses were easily taken over by the anti-war protesters in the ‘60’s. It’s a relatively short book and an interesting read.....
I'll vouch for that!!!
I'm not so sure about all the rest of this jaberwakee
sounds like a bunch of pseudo-intellectual jukin an jockeyin around the mulberry bush to me!!!
Brother! Do I ever agree with that statement!!!
You are correct - WASP is a stereotype, like nearly every other race or class in America.
I came from blue-collar, Catholic roots, but knew quite a few true WASPS from Boston and New York. Indeed, they were middle-class. Their great-great grandfathers were in the Revolution, yet their fathers were Presbyterian ministers or teachers or even farmers - not Wall Street Bankers. All solid, responsible people who held fairness and honesty as their hallmarks.
You need to look at how groups vote, the WASP vote is pretty much like it was a 100 and 200 years ago, immigration has always fed liberals with an ever growing vote, which then leads to ever more immigration, which leads to an ever growing liberal vote, which leads to.......
The owners of tax-exempt "charitable" foundations. Yup.
Bring back the Nazis.